Anne Davey Orr
“Forests keep disappearing, rivers dry up, wild life’s become extinct, and the climate’s ruined and the land grows poorer and uglier every day.”
Anton Pavlovich Chekhov
Chekhov died in 1944. His concerns for the changing landscape and the future of the planet are uncannily similar to our own concerns about global warming and climate change today. In these works I use an experimental technique in which the process itself suggests the effects of climate change on landscape.
I became interested in landscape when I wrote a paper on the history of landscape painting at the University of Ulster in 2011. At the same time my studio was located on one of Belfast’s ‘Peace Lines’ in Ardoyne looking directly onto a thirty-foot high corrugated ‘Peace Wall’ which became so much a part of the urban and rural landscape as it cut its way through north Belfast up towards the Black Mountain and Divis. I started using layers of masking tape in my work to represent the intrusion of this barrier into the landscape – with unexpected results. In places it stuck and in other places it allowed thin glazes of paint to spill through and stain the canvas. I began to think of this layering process as a metaphor for landscape itself; how it is laid down over time; how it is affected by intervention, erosion and unpredictability, and by the history of place. The resulting paintings superseded the barrier and took on a life and meaning of their own.